The UDP Protocol

The UDP Protocol: UDP, or User Datagram Protocol, is another way to send information, kind of like TCP.

The big difference from TCP is that UDP is like a conversation without saying “Hello, are you there?” first. It doesn’t set up a connection before talking. This makes it faster because each piece of information sent is smaller and it doesn’t have the detailed conversation setup that TCP has.

However, the downside is that it’s not as reliable. It’s like talking really quickly but not always making sure your friend heard every word you said.

In TCP, if a piece of information (packet) goes missing, the protocol can deal with it and send the packet again to make sure it gets through.

In UDP, it doesn’t have this built-in feature. If a packet disappears, it’s like a missing puzzle piece, and it’s up to a higher level (something built on top of UDP) to figure out if it’s lost and needs to be sent again. UDP itself doesn’t automatically check if a packet was received or if it got there without any mistakes.

UDP was officially described in a document called RFC 768 back in 1980.

Some important jobs that use the UDP layer include DNS (finding IP addresses) and DHCP (assigning IP addresses to devices). Even more notably, UDP is the foundation of HTTP/3, the next version of the technology that powers the web.

Just like with TCP, UDP also uses ports to help processes (applications) on computers communicate with each other. It’s like having separate doors for different applications, making sure they don’t get mixed up.

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Deepak Vishwakarma


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